It feels like someone asked how is the world today?
‘My name Mary means Bearer of the Light and Jane means to analyze. I ask too many questions. I am a Miller, one who grinds up ideas like a country corn mill. Sixty years old and asking Why Painting Icons? Is there a simple answer?
When we stop to think why paint icons?
The client often asks where do you sell these icon paintings or how long does it take to paint an icon?
I respond, “it is a nitch market and they take a long time to execute”
They go on to explain how they acquired an icon from Russia or which fabulous ones they saw in a museum show of byzantine icons a few years ago?
The student is curious and mystified by the egg tempera technique;
How do you do egg tempera and where do you get your eggs?
Other iconographers have more questions;
Who did you study icon painting with? What classes in egg tempera have you taken?
What do you plan to do with such a big icon collection? Do you teach icon painting?
Every once in a while we get a priest or nun in the studio.
What is your inspiration? ( love that question) which icon is your favorite? Could I paint one?
We have three web sites full of icon images and text. We post on Facebook, Linked in, Christian visual Arts, Episcopal Arts Council, and Temple Divine Contemporary Iconography along with Fine art America. The questions have been answered dozens of times.
No simple way to explain, “why icon painting?
Part of me is sick of the marketing and explaining my involvement in painting icons or why only icon painting.
It is not enough to just do the work, you have to stand beside it, explain it, publish it, keep it fresh and interesting, and endure the commentary bubbling up in a variety of directions.
Maybe I should think about a bill board or two, (actually in Virginia, Interstate 81, we installed one billboard of Christ Pantocrator, says Peace be still 12′ by 16′ foot and one Mary the Hodegitria 14′ by 18′ says Let it Be 2005 ) perhaps TV adds or posters on the backs of transport trucks. I could try printing the work on bed sheets or cool colorful refrigerator interiors so when you look in you see Christ and the whats for supper.
If you are an artist you can understand the dilemma. Being discovered represents lots more work, while amenity feels like loneliness. Most artist I know has a large body of work and we want to make more because we love the process. Being still invites relief, tranquility and balance as we stand in our studios alone and gaze at the icons satisfied and grateful.
What do we do with so many painted icons?
I keep waiting for the day the world turns upside
down, when the focus will shift into just being and we will live only in the present with no need for an identity, marketing or even reflection. Now that would be a new reality then why would I be painting icons.
People’s energy can make me feel disconnected, I become a mind full of jerky thoughts unrelated like today, This rant is a graveyard full of thoughts all in the same place on the page, uncovered just for a glimpse before I bury them again, enjoy the read.
I’ll never know if I could have been better, or been able to explain who I am. There is no measuring stick for love of the divine and the divine cares nothing for our individualism. We just are, we just show up each day in the studio to work and pray for guidance.
No wonder it feels great to hide in the activity of painting icons and only surface when called upon. It is good to be alive, no matter what.